There's an election next week that could lead to the creation of a powerful new public office in
The Portland Charter Commission election, which will be held Tuesday, June 9th, will decide the membership of a panel tasked with examining and rewriting the city's governing documents. One of the major questions the commission will debate is whether or not the city should strengthen the position of mayor, changing it from a ceremonial role bestowed upon a city councilor by her colleagues to a position with real powers, elected by a city-wide vote.
There are other issues that will be discussed by the charter commission, including the make-up and powers of the city council and possible alternative voting mechanisms. And, of course, there are partisan and political considerations as well – many of the candidates are known to represent particular political parties (Anna Trevorrow, for instance, who managed to use correct spelling on her signs this time, is the chair of the Maine Green-Independent Party). The major issue, however, will be the structure and role of the office of mayor. With that in mind, here is how each candidate stands on the issue according to a questionnaire distributed by the League of Young Voters.
District 1: Joel Benson Monaghan - Supports
District 1: Ben Chipman - Supports
District 2: Dan Jenkins - Supports
District 2: Robert O'Brien - Supports
District 3: Laurie J. Davis - Supports
District 3: Joseph Malone - Undecided
District 4: John Spritz - Undecided
District 4: Steven Scharf - Supports
District 4: Janice E. Tevanian - Undecided
District 5: Peter Rickett - Supports
District 5: Richard J. Ranaghan, Jr. - Undecided
At-Large: James Cohen - Supports
At-Large: Ed Suslovic - Supports
At-Large: Thomas Elliman – Leaning towards
At-Large: Nathan H. Smith - Undecided
At-Large: Paul Farrell - Supports
At-Large: James Gooch - Supports
At-Large: Anna Trevorrow - Supports
As no candidates are willing to say they oppose an elected mayor, it may be that the major issue the commission will consider may have already been decided. Look forward to a new political power base in
For more coverage of the election, check out the debates hosted by the League and their voting guide, as well as articles in the Portland Daily Sun and (rather anemic) coverage from the Portland Phoenix.
The Portland Press Herald has had some great articles on the topic, but they lost some credibility today when they printed this story on Jim Gooch’s disappearing campaign signs and allowed this quote from a Gooch campaign volunteer to go unanswered:
"I would swear on my mother's life that is a concerted campaign to remove his presence," Emerson said. "It's a campaign against him personally. It's a well-orchestrated campaign to remove him from his campaign."
I think it’s much more likely that the campaign signs are disappearing due to their own unintentional hilarity.